FIVE BIRDS BY THE NORTH GATE
Chapter 3: Drifting Away
There she goes.
From his new perch at the Aviary, the Red Owl watched silently as the Green Eagle flew past him. It was her last day today, and like Blue and Pink before her, Green was also setting out towards new horizons. I wonder if she’ll bump into Pink over the border, thought Red. The Green Eagle didn’t tell them much about where she will be settling in, only that it was beyond the border, more or less near where Pink was. The Red Owl found this amusing, this secrecy. He once thought of telling Green about it, but then decided against it. He didn’t want the Green Eagle’s last memory of him to be mixed with lingering annoyance.
The Green Eagle was nearly at the gate, when the Red Owl remembered something important.
It was some sort of tradition within their flock; when someone was going to leave the Aviary, everyone would pitch in and come up with a farewell present. A token. A souvenir. Something to remember them by. They gave one to the Pink Parrot a few moons ago, and today they had also given one to the Green Eagle. Red held up his talons and enumerated the items they gave to Green.
“One.. two.. yup, we already gave that to Green,” he whispered to himself.
“Three.. thr.. oh wait,” stopped Red. “Did Yellow already give those items?”
Jumping from his perch, the Red Owl flew towards the Yellow Dove’s corner in the Aviary.
“Hey yo, Yellow.”
“You gave Green the colored leaves, right?” asked the Red Owl.
A look of alarm was visible on Yellow Dove’s face. “OH! I forgot! It’s still here with me!”
“Oh shoot. Okay, give them to me.”
Taking the items from Yellow’s wings, Red took off in quick pursuit.
Colored leaves. They were just like any other leaf, but colored. They also happen to be adhesive. You could scratch out a message, or a note on one of those leaves, and then just post them on the wall to serve as helpful reminders. They looked simple enough, yet at the same time, a multi-colored bunch of them were pleasing to look at. The Green Eagle liked them so much that she made it her parting request, when she met Yellow, Pink, and Red for the farewell meal. The Blue Peacock wasn’t able to attend; her new flight path had brought her to a different continent. This was about a week before her last day.
“On my last day,” said Green, “it’s okay if you don’t get me that cup thing.”
“Hoo. Hoo. Huh?” wondered the Red Owl. The Yellow Dove paused from eating. The Pink Parrot squawked and looked at Green.
“Yeah, I’d like to get a couple of colored leaves hahaha.”
The Green Eagle said this with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. After all, that particular item was something she really liked, not to mention something she used on an almost regular basis. This was just like Green, thought Red. It was just like her to come up with a request for her own gift, something that was both practical and at the same time.. girly. Haha. If she heard me say this I’d be in trouble.
The door to the Aviary was almost open. In a few seconds the Green Eagle would be outside it. Hurrying his pace, the Red Owl flew as fast as he could. As she tilted her wings to turn left, the Green Eagle saw the Red Owl from the corner of her eye.
“What is it, Red?” asked Green.
“You forgot these,” said Red, as he handed over the pack of colored leaves.
The Green Eagle’s eyes lit up as she smiled, then she said “Thank you!”
It was like watching a fledgling opening gifts at Christmas.
All right, thought Red. Those were all three items. All right.
He wanted to say something, but he didn’t know what else he could say. It seemed to be the same case for the Green Eagle, for they just stayed where they were, looking at each other while probably wondering what the other was going to say. This lasted for about a full five seconds, before they both smiled and bid each other farewell. As the door to the Aviary closed, Red could not help but feel nostalgic over the departure of yet another friend. If Green knew what he was thinking, she’d deridingly say “That’s sooo long ago,” and then roll her eyes for added effect.
With an amused Hoo hoo, the Red Owl flew back towards his perch.